Edmond O'Brien received his second and final Oscar nomination for portraying Senator Raymond Clark in Seven Days in May.
Edmond O'Brien portrays one of the loyal men to the president Jordan Lyman (Fredric March who gives the best performance in the film, but probably suffered from category confusion). O'Brien role is rather simple in that he acts as an operative for the president in trying to find out the truth behind a secret army base. Edmond O'Brien although has a descent amount of screen time he spends most of the time listening to others as he attempts to either help the president or decipher the mystery of the possible coup. O'Brien is required to develop his whole character as he moves through the plot.
O'Brien actually handles this quite well and does develop Raymond Clark into an actual person despite limitations caused by the type of film it is. In all of his scenes he makes an enjoyable characterization of a real old timey southern Senator, who drinks to much, but does believe in the president and plans do to his best to help him. O'Brien has some very good mannerisms here, that although he ensures they are very distinct he also never overplays them to the point that they become caricature.
He realizes Clark with these mannerisms very well showing exactly where he comes from and as well as his clear history in politics. O'Brien creates the history of the man simply in his face. O'Brien is good as he proceeds to show Clark as a flawed man being an aged alcoholic, but still a man with pride, as O'Brien shows in his scenes of supporting the president. O'Brien has the passion of Clark just right as it certainly is reduced by age and drink, but it still is clearly apparent. This is not an amazing performance by O'Brien, but most certainly an interesting one and from what he did do with Clark, I actually wish he had been given more to do in the script than he was allowed.